WATCH

Watch NSW celebrate the end of lockdown and the beginning of 'freedom day'

NSW has finally emerged from lockdown after 106 days in some parts of the state.

Queues in carparks and outside pubs and cinemas greeted the strike of midnight on Monday as the stay-home orders officially lifted.

In Mona Vale on the NSW Northern Beaches, there was even a 6am queue outside a local men's barbershop as patrons looked to finally ditch the lockdown locks.

Michelle Dunn of the Rapunzel's Hair Castle in Bathurst NSW told Australian Community Media she felt like she was "welcoming back family" into her salon on Monday morning.

Despite the end to the lockdown and removal of some restrictions, on Monday NSW recorded 496 new COVID-19 cases with two new overseas acquired cases. It also saw eight deaths.

Meanwhile across the border in Victoria, there were 1612 new locally acquired cases and eight deaths. In the ACT, where lockdown restrictions will continue, there was another 32 cases.

The ACT became the first Australian state or territory to reach 97 per cent in first dose vaccinations, while second doses is sitting at 71 per cent.

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The Premier Dominic Perrottet said on Monday morning he expects the rest of the country will be watching NSW closely to see how the re-opening works out, as "NSW leads the nation out of this pandemic".

"There are going to be challenges, we know that. I ask that everyone right across this state treat each other with kindness and respect," Mr Perrottet said.

"Please be patient and look out for each other as we move through this period of time."

There has been some criticism surrounding the speed of the re-opening, and the fact that trials are only now taking place to integrate the vaccination certificate into the existing Services NSW app.

Clubs, businesses and aged-care facilities across Tamworth, Port Macquarie, Lismore and Wagga will be the first in the state to enable customers to sign in and show their vaccination status via the same app.

Meanwhile the rest of the state will have to make do with the Medicare app for a while longer.

This story 'Freedom day': Midnight shopping and sunrise beers after NSW lockdown lifts first appeared on Newcastle Herald.